10 Hours in North Hills
(By Andrea Rice)
Ah, North Hills.
To start our Saturday in this suburban shopper’s paradise, I begin at the Midtown Farmers Market, reusable bags in tow, to stock up on local produce that I can store in my trunk for the rest of the day—as I have quite a big day in store and can’t be bothered by lugging around shopping bags.
Next up: the venerable Quail Ridge Books, wandering the aisles in search of literary inspiration until I find the perfect tome, which I then take over to Crepe Traditions for a late morning cup o’ joe brewed with Intelligentsia beans and nosh on a Nutella fruit crepe with banana, strawberries, pineapple chunks, and granola as I read the first chapter or two.
Essential weekend pampering follows. I make my way to Blown Away Blow Dry Bar for a scalp massage and blowout—with a champagne accompaniment, of course. Looking good, I text a lady friend or two to see if they’d want to meet at the greenspace at Midtown Park, where we can people watch and drink wine from plastic cups and (very respectfully) break the rules.
If we’re lucky (or unlucky, depending), a musician will take the stage before we depart for some more (now tipsy) shopping, followed by happy hour.
Liles Clothing Studio, a couture shop for men, is our first stop, where we’ll pick up a pair of snazzy patterned socks for our husbands. Next, we waltz over to Gena Chandler and try on some Rag & Bone—and pretend that we can actually afford Rag & Bone by putting the items on our credit cards. Whoops.
By now, the munchies have ensued, so we meander to Midtown Olive Oil for an olive oil tasting that we soak up with glorious, glutenous bread, and also select a few specialty pastas and other provisions to convince ourselves that the grocery shopping is done for the day.
By now, it’s almost five o’clock, so we strut over to Fox & Hound for a cocktail. Because there are sports playing on the television sets, however, we class it up and head to STIR for an even fancier cocktail, served with still-fancier artisanal ice. We ask our server to perform one of those critically acclaimed ice shows and order a dozen oysters on the half shell.
Now we’re really hungry—and sushi is a must. Mura is just upscale enough to suit our sophisticated vibe and palates without being overly stuffy. A bottle or two of sake later, the Lyft arrives.
Landmark: Regal Cinemas 14
Where to Get a Cup of Coffee: Crepe Traditions
Where to Visit with Friends: Midtown Park
Where to Walk Your Dog: North Hills Dog Park
Where to Spend the Night: AC Hotel
Quail Ridge Books
4209 Lassiter Mill Road, #100, 919-828-1588, quailridgebooks.com
Quail Ridge Books, North Raleigh’s favorite independent bookstore, attracts locals and out-of-towners alike. Pick up a Sunday New York Times and wander the aisles, browsing Quail Ridge’s well-curated selection. Bestsellers are, of course, represented, but you’ll discover gems you hadn’t heard of before. Founded in 1984 (at a different location), Quail Ridge also is, thanks to signings and readings on an almost daily basis, the go-to destination to see visiting authors ranging from bold-face names to up-and-comers eager for you to sample their first book.
Note: We’ve highlighted our pick for the best of each category below.
4100 Main at North Hills Street, 919-278-1478, 41hundredrestaurant.com
The Renaissance Raleigh Hotel’s 41 Hundred knows how to do a night on the town right, and the staff here is always on point. Order a shareable plate of halloumi or the tuna poke and do some people watching.
4121 Main at North Hills Street, 919-626-8226, bartaco.com
Yeah, it’s a chain, but lots of things around here are. We were in at the “tacos + tequila” slogan.
201 Park at North Hills Street, 919-916-5410, bgood.com
If you’re healthfully inclined, grab a spicy avocado and lime kale bowl. If you’re less healthfully inclined, chow down on one of the sandwiches with a side of sweet potato fries.
101 Park at North Hills Street, 919-258-2070, eatatco.com
CO, which has locations dotting the Carolinas and Georgia, offers an array of Southeast Asian dishes from beef and kimchi dumplings to bun xao to five-spice pork belly.
4208 Six Forks Road, #100, 919-784-0400, thecowfish.com
Burgushi, combining burgers and sushi, may seem like an unwise food mashup, but it works. Try the Prime Time Filet & Lobster Roll for the concept at its shiny best. There’s a boatload of other dishes to choose from, including The Nature Boy’s Wooooo–Shi Buffalooooo–Shi Roll, Birkenstocky Shiitake Maki, the Pinky Swear Roll, and The Arnold Hamandeggar. That short list gives you a hint of the menu’s range and also Cowfish’s penchant for a convoluted naming system.
4351 The Circle at North Hills, 919-789-0606 coquetteraleigh.com
This upscale restaurant is tres French and perfect for a special occasion. The moules frites are to die for.
141 Park at North Hills Street, 919-977-3425, crepetraditions.com
Crepe Traditions is a great little spot for a pick-me-up. Order an Intelligentsia coffee and a curry chicken crepe, or go sweet and indulge in a s’mores and ice cream crepe. Not in the mood for coffee? Try the bubble tea.
Edible Art Bakery and Dessert Cafe
4351 The Circle at North Hills, #115, 919-856-0604
“Sweet, Southern, and scratch-made”—Edible’s slogan sums up all you need to know about its scrumptious assortment of desserts. Get there early if you want the Red Velvet cupcake (it tends to sell out), but you won’t go wrong with the Almond Amaretto.
Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls
4121 Main at North Hills Street, 984-200-1845, masonslobster.com
This small East Coast chain’s rolls eschew fancification, using only combinations of Maine lobster, butter, lemon, celery, and mayo for the bulk of its selections. There are also lobster and shrimp salads, New England clam chowder, and Lobster bisque dishes available.
4421 Six Forks Road, #115, 919-782-9463, themidtowngrille.com
This contemporary American restaurant is what you make it. Take a colleague for a working lunch or take a date for dinner, or, better yet, go for brunch; get either the Citrus Coconut French Toast Casserole or The Southern Benedict with its biscuit, poached egg, Johnston County ham, hollandaise, pimiento cheese, and home fries.
4121 Main at North Hills Street, #110, 919-781-7887, muranorthhills.com
This upscale sushi and Japanese restaurant has shown staying power, and you’ll know why after sampling its goods.
Rosewater Kitchen & Bar
110 Park at North Hills, rosewaterraleigh.com
This newest member of the Giorgios Group restaurant empire boasts North Carolina ingredients and Mediterranean flavors.
4242 Six Forks Road, #100, Raleigh, 984-200-8614, stirraleigh.com
At this popular North Hills destination, you can literally watch ice not melt. There are seven different types of ice at STIR. Each one serves a different purpose related to the type of cocktail or liquor, of which there are three hundred available at the bar. There’s also a made-from-scratch menu that ranges from a raw bar to Peruvian ceviche to a spicy tuna burger.
4209 Lassiter Mill Road, #115
From the zeppoli (lemon zest ricotta fritter, raspberry gelato, lemon curd) to the classic Margherita pizza, Vivace has lots of quality food options. Pair your dish with just about anything from the fine list of Italian wines, and cleanse your palate with the homemade house limoncello. Order a strong nightcap, and be sure you get home responsibly.
Bull and the Bear
5442 Six Forks Road, 919-847-3617
Find this unassuming spot in a shopping center at the corner of Six Forks and Millbrook. Low key, friendly, and, above all, comfortable—and, really, sometimes that’s all you need in a bar.
Fox & Hound
4158 Main North Hills Street, 919-781-4495, foxandhound.com
A good place to catch the game of your choice, be it hoops, football, or something else, while sipping a cocktail or one of the many craft beers available. The menu is typical—burgers, sandwiches, and the like, all competently executed. If you’re a fight fan, you definitely want to get familiar.
101 Park at North Hills Street, 984-204-7688, level7roofbar.com
Go for the rooftop view, stay for the craft cocktails. You’re on top of the AC Hotel in Midtown (Raleigh ’burbs Midtown, not the other one), so vistas aren’t exactly Manhattan quality. Still, Level 7 is a fun place to imbibe and a great spot to end an evening out.
World of Beer
4208 Six Forks Road, #150
If you have difficulty making decisions, let someone else order. It’s likely you’ll spend more time deciding what to drink than actually drinking it.
4208 Six Forks Road, 919-881-2590, yardhouse.com
Most sports-bar aficionados prefer the dive aesthetic. Occasionally, though, you find someone who loves watching the game but is less enamored of ragged grit. On these occasions, you turn to Yard House. With 140 taps emphasizing craft and specialty brews, it’s easy to find a beer for any taste.
Blown Away Blow Dry Bar
201 Park at North Hills Street, 984-232-8806, blownawayraleigh.com
Treat yourself with an appointment at Blown Away. This salon gives you a relaxing shampoo and a blowout in a variety of styles, plus champagne.
4120 Main at North Hills Street, #115, 919-366-5000, shopcopperpenny.com
This Raleigh location of a small string of boutiques that originated in Charleston offers designer fashion “curated with a Southern eye.”
4209 Lassiter Mill Road, #106, 919-881-9480, genachandler.com
Founded in 2006 by N.C. natives, Gena Chandler presents women’s fashion from the likes of Rag & Bone, True Religion, Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Love Shack Fancy. Don’t be surprised to meet the owners, as they’re often there.
Learning Express Toys & Gifts
4209 Lassiter Mill Road, 919-881-4141, lexpblog.com
You’re sure to find a gift fun enough to please the kid and educational enough to please the parents.
Liles Clothing Studio
4350 Lassiter at North Hills Avenue, #106, 919-510-5556, lilesclothingstudio.com
For men who care about their clothes, Liles is pretty heavenly. Having exclusive rights to some labels means it’s the only place around to find certain designers. Liles also does custom and made-to-measure pieces, providing that exquisite feeling of wearing something made especially for you.
Midtown Olive Oil
4421 Six Forks Road, #105, 919-510-5510, midtownoliveoil.com
Sample olive oils and balsamic vinegars until you find the perfect one—or, if you’re impossibly picky, create your own flavor combination. It’ll be freshly bottled on site for you to take home. The store also has a selection of imported and gourmet foods, including specialty pastas and sauces, bread from Raleigh’s Yellow Dog Bakery, and more.
Scout and Molly’s
4120 Main at North Hills Street, 919-754-8430, scoutandmollys.com
Shopping at Scout and Molly’s is kind of like a few girlfriends getting together and trying stuff on. The stylists make you feel comfortable, but, like a real friend, they’ll tell you when the look you like is more “Girl, please” than “Girl, yaaasss.”
Kings Dining and Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills Street, 919-600-5700, kings-de.com
There’s bowling, but also foosball, pinball, assorted arcade games, table tennis, and billiards. It’s a great, laid-back escape in the afternoon and an energetic destination at night, whether you’re looking for a fun date experience or a place for the whole gang to hang out.
Midtown Farmers Market
4191 Main at North Hills Street, visitnorthhills.com/event/midtown-farmers-market-25
This producers-only market happens every Saturday morning (8:00 a.m.–noon) from April through November and features local produce and meats, homemade breads, and handcrafted items. Wander through and be inspired to grab just the right ingredients for a week’s worth of dinners.
4011 Cardinal at North Hills Street, visitnorthhills.com/location/midtown-park
Community events, plays, and concerts take place on this greenspace, which also includes a stage and an interactive fountain.
North Hills Dog Park
100 Saint Albans Drive
If your canine companion is tired of being cooped up, this space provides ninety-five hundred square feet of off-leash fun.
Optimist Park & Community Center
5900 Whittier Drive, 919-996-2880, raleighnc.gov
A covered pool and eighteen-thousand-square-foot community center sit next to the thirty-acre park.
Shelley Lake Park
1400 West Millbrook Road, 919-996-2329, raleighnc.gov/parks
The park encompasses a little over 144 acres with a pleasant two-mile walking trail circling the lake. There’s also a playground, a basketball court, structures to climb on, and enough room that, with a bit of walking, you can feel like you’re getting away from it all, despite the crowd of people doing the same thing.
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